No matter how big or small your passionate non-profit team is, it can still be tough to have all team members on the same page on marketing strategies and campaigns, especially if you have team members working in different offices.
Yes, you can stay in touch via email, have conferences through Go To Meeting or Skype and get together for emergency in-person meetings just before events, but there are ways to make the process run smoother.
There are some easy-to-use, affordable (and/or free) team collaboration tools that can help non-profit teams streamline editing content, keep track of the tasks each team is assigned and give real-time updates on projects. Here are some of the most sought after team collaboration tools.
100% web based, this platform makes it easy for you to log in and visually track how your projects are progressing, delegate and track recurring tasks, automate marketing workflows for similar projects so you don’t have to manually create projects, manage your drag & drop social media editorial calendar and view who is responsible for what task with the cross-project prioritization lists. You’ll also be able to budget time for each project, track the amount of time used, add tasks, messages, files & ideas via email with Brightpod send, and keep track of Insights, which will show you when a project, milestone, and task was completed and how long it took. Store files & other assets with ease, streamline messaging with your team, and capture requests from other departments without losing any communication.
The Professional package for $29 USD/month allows you to run 15 projects with 10 GB of storage and unlimited users.
Zoho Projects is probably one of the most versatile project management platforms on the market today as it provides several different applications to improve project management, collaboration and productivity. You’ll be able to schedule meetings, view and keep track of tasks for each team member, create documents, make reports and take care of bookkeeping. Project Planning lets you break down complex projects into easily manageable tasks and keep track of milestones while Gantt charts provides detailed visual progress to help compare task progress to what was planned. Project Coordinator’s timeline mode lets you get back to important posts and helps your team coordinate with Project Planning and Gantt charts.
Nonprofits can use Zoho Projects to schedule online meetings with members and volunteers. It also has a built-in chat feature that nonprofits can use to communicate with staff members in a fast and convenient manner. The integration with Google Apps, allows you to sync files from Google Drive, keeping all documents in a centralized location.
The free option supports 1 project and offers 1 MB of storage space while the express option is $25/month will support 20 projects with 10 GB storage and unlimited users.
Meetings don’t have to be a struggle when you are working with a team that is up to date on all of the goings-on related to your projects! Hypercontext’s one-on-one tool will let you share agendas and meeting notes and you will be able to email other people who are included in the threads for additional feedback as well as suggested questions. Hypercontext makes it easy to assign the next steps and clarify points that were discussed in your meeting. Being able to keep people in the loop is important to avoid issues with project deadlines as well as with overall team project management. If you are tired of struggling to keep everyone caught up, Hypercontext can help you to seamlessly convey meeting information for everyone to see.
A pro membership starts at $5.60 a person and offers attachments and 250 GB of storage.
Indy is a project management tool created for freelancers. Its features are streamlined, easy to understand, and designed to balance multiple projects at once. You can categorize different tasks with your own custom tags, add reminders and due dates, and pin or “star” a task based on it’s priority. The time management feature lets you track time spent on each individual task; you can see what you’ve accomplished in one sitting, how long you spent on each task, and the total amount of time you’ve worked.
These are just two of the features Indy offers, and all of them come together in the project tab. This space serves as a hub, seamlessly integrating tasks and tracked time, as well as giving you the space to organize important contacts, upload files to cloud storage, and jot down notes or reminders. You can even utilize the chat feature to communicate with others working on the project, regardless of if they use Indy or not.
Another handy tool to help non-profits manage their projects, ProofHub gives a 20% discount on all plans for non-profits. Users can also get an additional 10% discount with annual subscriptions. The essential plan of $45/month will give you the ability to manage 40 projects with 15 GB of storage and unlimited users. You’ll be able to store documents in a centralized location, assign tasks to team members and volunteers and collaborate with them on the built-in chat and discussion feature.
The platform is also mobile friendly, so you’ll be able to take the projects on the go. The calendar will allow you to view all the events, meetings, deadlines and milestones associated with each project, right in one location.
Trello might be a common sight on lists such as these but it’s one of the top free project management tools for a reason. It’s the perfect tool for list-makers as a Trello board is simply an organized board of lists filled with cards that you can drag, drop and re-order as needed. Your team can make real-time updates so you can all keep track of tasks as they’re completed, pending or yet to be started. You can assign people to the cards for each task, attach files and start conversations about the tasks as well.
Probably another common entry on lists such as these but once again, it’s Asana’s practical features & benefits that make it so appealing to so many companies. You can stay on track and organized with Asana’s project workflows, task assignments and project deadlines. On the communication side of things, Asana will only send relevant updates to team members on each project, which saves you time from having to weed out updates on projects you’re not assigned to. At-a-glance status tracking also means that you don’t have to send emails asking for an update.
You’ll also be able to upload documents into each project and integrate programs such as Dropbox, Mailchimp, Google Drive, Slack and many others. Asana is free for up to 15 users on your team but if you want to invite more guests to join, it’s $9.99/team member/month.
Check out my previous posts for more on online fundraising ideas, fundraising event ideas and some great tools to help non-profits create amazing images.
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Lilian Sue is a marketing communications professional with over 10 years of experience developing integrated multi-channel marketing campaigns (copywriting, social media & PR/media relations) for lifestyle brands, indie film & television projects, B2B companies, tourism/hospitality & food/beverage brands. Learn more about her work at In Retrospect Writing Services.